Getting to Know Your Wedding Officiant




Finding someone to be the wedding officiant at your wedding can sometimes be a more daunting task than finding your betrothed - especially if you are not affiliated with a particular house of worship or if you are marrying outside of your faith.

The key to finding an officiant who is in sync with you and your partner is to ask questions. Your wedding should be a customized ceremony, reflecting who you are as individuals and as a couple. To do this, your wedding officiant must understand your beliefs, your values, and what makes your bond so special.

Since it is easy to get caught up in the details of your reception, remember that your ceremony should be the most important part of your wedding day-treat it with reverence and find a wedding officiant who does too.

To avoid the cookie cutter approach to weddings, we recommend asking these essential questions of a prospective wedding officiant before you walk down the aisle.

How do you create the ceremony? Do we have final approval over the script? Ideally, the wedding officiant should collaborate with you every step of the way so that the ceremony is tailor-made for you. Don't let a boilerplate ceremony be imposed on you. You are encouraged to personalize your ceremony.

When will you arrive? The wedding officiant should be available at least 30 minutes before the ceremony in order to run through any last minute changes, and to coordinate details with readers, musicians, photographers and videographers. The officiant should always there at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start.

Does your fee include a full rehearsal at the wedding venue? Many officiants don't rehearse, but a full rehearsal is essential for a beautifully choreographed ceremony - and for calming last-minute nerves. Many religious officiants do not charge fees, but accept donations, if offered.

Do you provide your own public address system? If you are having your ceremony outdoors or in a venue that doesn't often cater to weddings, you will likely need to bring in an outside PA system. These details need to be worked out well in advance.

Can we vary the traditional choreography of a wedding? You may wish to face your guests rather than the officiant, or have the officiant stand to the side instead of between you and your spouse. Make sure your officiant is open to these suggestions. Of course, you should be able to alter the traditional.

What training do you have in creating and officiating at ceremonies? Many officiants have no specific training. Look for those who have a sound background in the history of ritual and ceremony. You may be looking for a Catholic wedding ceremony that is non-Roman Catholic or a spiritual maybe, non-denominational ceremony.

Will you work with our other wedding professionals? The wedding officiant should coordinate as needed with musicians to provide music cues for the ceremony, with photographers and videographers to assist them in getting the best shots, and with the staff of your venue to ensure that the ceremony will not conflict in any way with their requirements. Of course, other professionalsshould welcome.



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